Heard them at AXPONA last weekend, but there were so many people in the room and I couldn't get into a prime seating position. From where I was, they didn't sound better than the other new entries at the ~$10K price mark, i.e., Paradigm Persona 3F, Focal Kanta No.2, Revel F228 Be. I got a better listen to these others and really liked the F228 and Persona 3F.
But I definitely want to hear the A3 in a better listening environment, as well as the others.
They had an A3 there that had the side removed so as to be able to see how it was built. They are built very solidly, with extensive, all aluminum, internal bracing. They are significantly smaller than many of the Magico speakers I have seen, so that may be where some of the price difference comes in. I agree that they sounded very, very good.
From the Absolute Sound
Without a doubt, the product creating the greatest buzz at AXPONA 2018 was Magico’s three-way, four-driver A3 that will be selling at the very un-Magico-like price of $9800. The aluminum enclosure is built in the fashion of Magico’s pricier Q series speakers, with an elaborate system of internal supports; the drivers include a beryllium tweeter based on the one in the M series speakers (without the diamond coating) and the newly designed midrange and woofer cones have graphene diaphragms. Alon Wolf explained that considerable savings were realized by building the A3s in much larger batches than other Magico models and by offering just one finish/color option. These cost-saving measures notwithstanding, sonically, the A3 was immediately identifiable as a Magico when driven by either a Hegel or D’Agostino stereo amplifier, with characteristic clarity and seamlessness from top to bottom. I’ll want to see how the A3s stack up against S1 Mk2s, which I own and cost $6000 more. Stay tuned.
I heard the A3 at Axpona and didn't find them to be anything special outside of build quality. Their sound did not set them apart from the many other speakers in the price range, in fact there are many others that I prefer. I am a S5 Mk1 owner.
FWIW- the person sitting behind me was raving about how great they sounded while I was thinking, meh.
Clearly the best offering at that price, and one of the best sounds at Axpona.
The Paradigm sound (and measure) bright and edgy. Hard to imagine anyone likening them over the A3 (some people do need/like help on the upper register).
Revel F228be were, as all Ravel, a bore (I prefer the Focal's, although a bit grainy)
I am also surprised anyone who owns an S5 will not hear the resemblance; the A3 are Magico all the way.
The A3 may have been the best-sounding 10K speaker at AXPONA (wasn't there, don't know), but that doesn't necessarily make it the top pick among 10K speakers. We need to resist the temptation to pursue the latest flavor of the month.
On any audition list at the 10K mark, I'd put the likes of Proac, Spendor, Dynaudio, Spatial Audio, and Daedalus higher among my priorities.
I don’t know if I’d agree about the similarities with the S5. I heard the S5 in the Synergitic room and thought they were amazing. The A3 just didn’t wow me.
It didn’t sound bad by any means, but compared to the Paradigm Personas and Revel F228be it seemed a bit flatter and didn’t resolve detail as readily. I’d go as far as to say it had a slightly ‘dark’ tonality.
Some of that could have been the various room setups, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. I could see someone having a preference for the A3 if they prefer that darker sound signature.
It's only over the last few weeks that a number of people have been able to auditon the A3's. I'm not aware of the Revels being shown anywhere else. My point is that that these models and a few others are brand new, and novelty automatically invites attention and curiosity. But while we're being attentive and curious and intrigued, let's not lose sight of the other real competition out there.
@audiolabyrinth -- by the same logic you could also ask "how do the A3 compare to the M3" 😏
My experience in moving in the Magico lines is that there are two strands of DNA if you will -- one (the number) pertains more to room size and frequency extension (primarily low end) while the other (the letter) pertains more to tone and temperament -- I moved from V3 to Q3 and the effect was transformative, my next move (if/when I do) would be to M3. For some reason I have never warmed to the S series despite hearing them in many shows, they always seem to lack emotion and come across as sterile (although that could be the fault of how they are demoed)
So for me the question is tonally is the A class in the spirit of Q->M or the S. I suspect the latter given the necessity at this price point of designing a speaker that is undemanding of the sources and amplifiers it is used with, hence the slightly higher sensitivity I assume. The Qs can sound like hell if not carefully matched (they need gobs of power and ideally (to my taste) valves)
@audiolabyrinth Magico do not publish a maximum power for the Q3 -- the "recommended power" is 30W but the one time I heard them (my set) driven by 50W EAR amps (my then dealers preferred choice) they sounded twee and polite but gutless. I run 450W from my VTL MB450III and this feels like a good combination to me. I suspect the range is similar to that they publish for the M3 i.e. 30-500W
Frankly provided you are sensible and avoid trying to run high volume test signals there’s no such thing as "maximum power" (I did blow the woofers on one of my V3s when I had a loose RCA connection and hit it with a full volume 60Hz buzz)
A well reasoned and seemingly experienced post Folkfreak. Not having heard too many Magico demos and all among the S series, my verdict is out on their products. One thing that always has impressed me is the heroic efforts Magico expends in using technology to further the audio art. To that end they, among a few other manufacturers' have my admiration. But this isn't about beauty contests or Miss Congeniality but attracting discerning listeners. Reading all the differing opinions reveals how audiophiles perceive reproduced sound. Sometimes I suspect we like talking about it than just listening and enjoying what we've got, it can all get a little nuts to me.
Absolutely @tubegroover there is no such thing as an "absolute" in any aspect of audio reproduction. Furthermore I hold ardently to a belief that it's almost impossible to say ever that component A is "better" than B or vice versa. Why? Because it all comes down to matching and tweaking. Just because in one setup on one day you have a preference does not mean that in another setup on another day the preference would be reversed.
My system for choosing components is therefore to rarely if ever compare two amps, speakers or sources side by side. Instead I select based on overall impression, respect for the manufacturer, track record, looks and so on and then bring them home into my system. If I'm not pretty much immediately convinced there's a potential big step up (not just different) then out they go. If they stay then I spend several years, and often $$$ on tweaking the heck out of them to get the most I can.
So while I'm currently in the Magico line V->Q (->M in due course maybe) my speakers are tweaked with Townshend stands, full SR HFT, Enigma Supertweeters etc etc and perform and (at least based on what others tell me) most unlike the typical stock Q3 demo
Be very afraid of anyone who insists ever that component X "smokes" anything -- if that's the advice you are bring given then learn to ignore that advisee
@audiolabyrinth no, I simply added the Enigmacoustics Sopranino supertweeter. This is a pretty common add on for Q series Magicos and complements them nicely
you can read about my experience here
erik_squires3,375 postsFor the money I MUCH prefer the A3 to the S1 Mk II.
I think it is a much easier speaker to live with in several ways, while giving up nothing.
Pleased to hear that. I have heard the S1MlI at a dealers who set up a system to match my home Digital source - Ayon Pre - and Accustic Arts Amp (in place of my Pass Amp). I was impressed with the S1 and its accuracy. A3 on my radar, as well as Dynaudio Contour, Canton Ref.
@audiolabyrinth - the way to think of a SuperTweeter is that it is to tweeters as a SubWoofer is to Woofers i.e. it complements and extends rather than replaces. The Sopranino, like the Townshend and the recently introduced KIT HIT (https://www.monoandstereo.com/2018/04/new-kit-hit-super-tweeter-from-japan.html#more) operate in parallel with your existing speakers. That is you run a short speaker cable directly from your speaker connections to the terminals on the SuperTweeter. The SuperTweeter then comes with adjustments for crossover and level so you can match it to your existing speakers - generally like subwoofers the rule is if you can hear it operating you’ve got it set too high (e.g. level too high or cross over too low)
Some other SuperTweeters require their own mains power and this adds to the complexity.
So I listened to the A3 last week for the first time, and on good electronics (Constellation), well setup in terms of the room (very large room, no apparent problems there). I was frankly extremely surprised to to find them tonally VERY DARK so I’ll have to agree with one previous poster there. I listen primarily to classical music and there is no way I would EVER be happy with them. If I had any biases they would have been to the positive on this speaker. I expected SO much more. I also learned that the mark II versions of the S series are darker than the mark I versions at least to this dealer. Regardless, I haven’t hear the S3 or the S5 although I would like to. I was shocked. There was an absolute level of bass that was far too pronounced. It killed whatever the speaker was doing farther up the frequency spectrum, at least on well recorded classical music. I rarely have heard anything that sounded this wrong. Good source equipment (Esoteric I think), good recordings and I'm told that the speaker is just too dark. The dealer seems to think that the S5 Mark I was the homerun but the A3 waaaaaayyyyy too dark tonally to be a contender for me. Shocking.
Interesting that a number of you are agreeing they are dark. I have not heard them and I am just the peanut gallery.
Bewteen these common comments and the price hike to $12.5k I will probably not bother demoing them as my closest magico dealer 3-4 hours away.
I hate dark speakers. Neutral with a little warmth is fine and enjoyable but dark... no thanks.
Well i will also give my view on this , as i heard them with PS Audio gear , tellurium speaker cables and NordOst power cords to the system.
My initial thought was that these are tonally dark sounding.....on the same time i also remember that i think they are very coherent from top to bottom ....but tonally that dark is not my cup of tea....i also thought they lacked depth perspective.
After auditioning the A3's at two different dealers I bought a pair. Loved them. Then I made the mistake of auditioning the A3's and S3 Mk II's at the same dealer and traded the A3's in for the S3 Mk II's. At no time, either at the dealers or home, did I find the A3's or S3's anything approaching "dark". Different horses I guess.
I know this is a bit of an old thread, but I just heard the Magico A3s yesterday. Woah!
After selling my previous system: Wilson Sasha 1, with ARC Ref separates, I was ready to be disappointed by the A3s driven by ML 585.
Well, I was wrong. I was bowled over. They are now more than $10k, but to my ears they beat the following systems (for what I'm looking for)
Wilson - Sophia 3, Sasha 1 (don't best the Alexia 1s)
Focal - Scala v1, Sopra 2, Sopra 3 (I A/Bd the Sopra 3 in the same room same electronics - not even close).
The only system that I've had that I think this did not beat was Alexia 1s, ARC Ref75SE+5SE, w Transparent Ultra gen 5 loom. Lumin A1 was source, same as when I listed to the A3s.
I will be buying these.
Smooooooooth and extended top end, very well integrated between mid and tweeter. Could be a bit of a lul/suck in the upper bass (but could've been the room)
Refined and cohesive sound.
Non-fatigue; the tweeter (unlike the Focal) does not bring any attn to itself.
BASS... These were in a 20x24-x10 room. And, they were about 6 feet into the room. I was still wondering where the subs where. Not bloated bass or 'airy' (like Sopra 3) bass, but authoritative, solid, foundational bass.
Staging, imaging and focus were all very good. I could easily ear the difference between DACS (Esocteric, internal 585s, Lumin A1 and S1). Depth, focus, all there.
Transparency, with the 585 from Mark Levinson, was spot on - ARC Reference transparency.
I'll be getting these, maybe today :)
If you like Wilson and you like Focal, but neither are quite spot on, try these!
I bought a pair from the first manufacturing run. Have not looked back since. If you want to improve their sound even further, try the LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers. This is no "snake oil;" immediately audible increase in realism, transparency and tautness of bass. Well worth the investment. Neal